On Angel's Wings:

A Death and a New Beginning

Rain pitter-pattered on the green, spring grass. The sky was a stone grey, and there was no sign that the clouds would part anytime soon. A light breeze blew past the gathered people, stinging their faces like a fresh cut from a knife. The priests' words were lost in the wind, though no one was really taking to heart what he said. The girls sobbed quietly and the men were solemn faced. It was hard to believe that the ninja with the most talent, the young man who had so much going for him…was dead.

Uchiha Sasuke was gone.

The priest continued to drone on. "And as Psalm 23: 4 states: 'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me…'"

The priest clasped his hands together under his stomach as the girls sobbed louder. Haruno Sakura was leaning on Uzumaki Naruto, who would be excited at having his crush cuddle next to him, but given the situation, he simply stared at the grey headstone in front of him and once in a while patted Sakura's shoulder consolingly. He couldn't believe it either. He thought Team 7 would be together forever, but it was down to just three of them. Though Naruto hated to admit it, things would never be the same and, well, he was going to miss Sasuke…a little bit.

Hatake Kakashi stood behind his two remaining teammates, his arms crossed and no expression visible on his face. So he would never see the most talented ninja, his student, ever again. He never thought he would have to see someone so close to him (another Uchiha, yet) drift away from the world. Seeing Sasuke in the hospital bed, with his once handsome face covered in blood and his entire body covered in bandages, with the nurses rushing back and forth, crying hysterically, and the beep, beep of the heart monitor quickly fading away…was simply too much for him. Kakashi's duty was to protect his teammates…yet he failed.

Haruno Sakura buried her face in the soaking wet shoulder of Naruto's tuxedo, more fresh tears running down her face. She couldn't stand looking at that damned stone with the words of the boy she loved carved into it. She couldn't stand seeing all the others around her crying for the exact same reason she was. But most of all…she couldn't look at the box, the box that held the body of the once-living love of her life. Sasuke's body would be there forever, the flesh rotting off and his bones slowly disintegrating to dust. She would never see his beautiful face again. She would never get to sneak a touch on his shoulder ever again. She would never hear his deep, cold voice ever again. She would never…properly confess her love to him.

Behind all of Team 7 Hyuuga Hinata stood, her eyes perfectly dry and her hands folded neatly. She didn't know Sasuke very well. Scratch that, she didn't know Sasuke at all, but she didn't have it in her heart to skip his funeral. Though she knew nothing about him, she still felt the need to pay her final respects to the boy that every girl talked about, the boy who was basically a stranger to her. So sayonara, Sasuke-san. So you later.

The priest cleared his throat, turned on his heel, and slowly began walking away from the scene. After a few moments, the rest of the crowd began to leave quietly. The only ones who stayed behind were Naruto, Sakura, Kakashi and (oddly enough) Hinata.

Sakura tore herself away from Naruto and bent down in front of the gravestone, resting her fingers on the carved words "Uchiha Sasuke". "Sasuke-kun", she choked. "No matter what, I will always love you and I know we'll meet again someday." She sniffed and stood up. "Goodbye…my love."

Without a second glance, Sakura ran from the grave, not bothering to hold back her tears. Naruto looked after her before turning back to the grave and also bending down in front of it.

"Sasuke, you bastard," he said quietly, a lone tear sliding down his cheek and trailing down his whisker marks. "You made Sakura-chan cry."

He stood up straight, nodded at Kakashi, and slowly walked away. Kakashi looked back at the silent Hinata.

"Hinata-sama, why are you still here?"

Hinata shifted awkwardly. "I just…wanted to say goodbye…to one of the most respected young men of Konoha."

Kakashi stared at her for a moment, sighed, and jabbed his hands into the pockets of his black slacks. "Since I have nothing more to say to our dear departed Sasuke, I'll leave you alone to say your final farewell, Hinata-sama."

He looked down at the grave once more before following in Naruto's and Sakura's footsteps out of the graveyard. Hinata stared down at the headstone before digging into the pocket of her skirt and pulling out a small, wilted dandelion she found in the grass before the funeral. She bent down and placed the flower gently next to the headstone.


A light…a bright, white light…whispering…coldness…

Am I dead?

Sasuke's eyes blinked open and the light shown even brighter, nearly blinding him. He shielded his face and took in his surroundings. It looked like he was in a tunnel with walls lined with a fluff-like substance. Somewhere to his right, at the end of the tunnel, an angelic voice could be heard, softly singing. That's where the light was coming from: the end of the tunnel…where the voice was singing.

Sasuke blinked, the memories finally drifting back. It was during one of his missions with his team. They had met some enemies on the way to the Village of Stone, and he had thought he could take them on himself. Of course, things don't always turn out as you expect them to. The last things he could remember were blood obscuring his vision and then total darkness…

Sasuke turned his head towards the end of the tunnel. "Am I in heaven?"

"Actually, Sasuke-san, you're not."

Sasuke jumped as a girl suddenly appeared two feet in front of him. She had brown hair that reached below her waist, a pale complexion, and vividly green eyes. She was wearing a long, white, billowing robe that reached down to her bare feet. She smiled at him and waved. Sasuke stared at her for a few moments and frowned.

"What do you mean?" He yelled. "What, am I in he-"

The girl shook her head, still smiling. "No, Sasuke-san." She took a seat next to him. "You're in purgatory."

Sasuke sighed. "So I'm dead?"

The girl nodded sadly. "I'm afraid so. Take a look at your body."

Sasuke glanced down at his arms and legs (he was also wearing a white robe). The cuts, the scars, the bruises…they were gone! He touched his face lightly, his fingers tracing over no cuts. What the…

He snapped his head and glared at the girl. "Lady, you're crazy! I'm perfectly fine."

The girl giggled. "Sasuke-san, you're the crazy one." Before Sasuke could say anything, she continued. "Uchiha Sasuke, you have a mission to complete before you can get into heaven."

Sasuke rolled his eyes. "God, would you stop with this-"

She continued as though he hadn't said anything at all. "You've done some pretty awful things in your life, but they weren't so bad that you were sent to hell." She looked at Sasuke square in the eye. "Are you prepared to accept the mission, Sasuke-san, and redeem yourself?"

Sasuke clicked his tongue. "Sure, whatever. I'll play along."

The girl cleared her throat and pulled what looked like a mirror out of her robe. She held the mirror in front of Sasuke's face and rubbed the surface lightly with her fingers.

"Sasuke-san, your duty is the be the guardian angel…of this girl."

Sasuke peered into the mirror and saw the last person he expected to see: